Bruce Crawford, Manager of Horticulture MCPC
At Willowwood, the summer of 2022 will be best remembered in one word – watering! The long stretch of dry and warm weather necessitated watering recently added plant accessions. Surprisingly, numerous well-established plants showed stress and required irrigation. Thankfully, the rains returned and our plants and gardeners are no longer looking stressed.
Despite the drought and heat, annuals continued to bloom beautifully. Additional plants were added to the Rosarie and looking very colorful. Edits and additions are still being made to this garden, including bulbs.
Another area in need change was the Cornus mas (Cornelian Cherry) bed, adjacent to the Tubbs House. Several shrubs were slowly consuming the bed. As they grew, the garden had lost much of the early spring detail it had once displayed. These shrubs were transplanted into an area by the tent lawn, allowing the White Forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum) to ‘breathe’ once again. Species tulips will be planted to the area this fall and additional herbaceous plants are planned for a spring planting.
In typical fashion, the spring bulb displays will be planted in November. We will focus on using bulbs outside of the large flowering tulips. Thanks to a grant from the Willowwood Foundation, daffodils, various grape hyacinths, summer snowflakes, camas and fritillarias will be used to create a colorful spring display. We will be planting 2,000 Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) bulbs in the Winter Garden. These are a deep blue flower that slowly spread to bloom in early to mid-March, providing years of attractive color.
As always, there is a lot of activity at Willowwood. I hope that you will be able to come out soon on a weekday to chat with the gardeners or take a long quiet stroll on a weekend. The air is crisp and cool with some fall color persisting, making this a wonderful time of the year to enjoy the Arboretum.
Manager of Horticulture, Morris County Parks Commission